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24 – 29 May 2024, Brazil Amid the worst floods in the history of the Brazilian State Rio Grande do Soul, a historic climate gathering unfolded in the heart of the Amazon: The Inter-American Court of Human Rights convened its second groundbreaking hearing to address the Advisory Opinion on “The Climate Emergency and Human Rights,” bringing the stark realities of climate change to the forefront of States’ human rights obligations.

A Call to Action

Judge Nancy Hernández López, President of the Court, set the tone with a powerful call to action in her opening remarks:

“There are two fundamental issues that are the reason for this Session: the call for the care of our planet and democratic resilience, and the role of judges in this context.”

Her words resonated deeply as the session began amidst the human suffering due to the extreme weather in Rio Grande Do Sul—a blunt reminder of the urgency of Court’s mission.

Context

The hearings were held both in Brasilia, the federal capital of Brazil, and Manaus, the capital of the State of Amazonas. They occurred amid historic flooding in Brazil, with impacts similar to a Category 5 hurricane with a cost of at least 10 billion reais (US$1.9 billion). As of 27 May, over 2.3 million people were affected by the massive flooding, with 169 reported deaths, 56 reported missing persons, 600,000 displaced persons, and 56,000 in shelters. Climate change made the event more than twice as likely and around six to nine percent more intense, according to the World Weather Attribution group.

Following three days of hearing in Bridgetown, Barbados, the Court organized an additional four days in Brazil where they heard from a diverse array of voices. From 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily, 116 delegations—comprising States, Indigenous communities, environmental defenders, NGOs, scientists, academic institutions, and youth advocates—shared their testimonies. These included children, women leaders, and frontline communities who have faced the brunt of climate change, many of whom had lost everything.

Leadership Engagement

The Court’s engagement included meeting with Brazilian President Lula da Silva, and previously with Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley. These discussions underscored the need for a concerted human rights-based approach to tackling the climate crisis.

Highlighting Climate Science and the Need to Move from Voluntary to Mandatory Measures to Address the Climate Emergency

IGSD worked closely with partner organizations to put a human face to the climate crisis and ensure that the Court heard different voices that detailed the extent of the climate emergency and the need to use a human rights approach based on the latest science to solve this crisis. Many of the groups brought critical climate messages to the fore, including the need for fast, mandatory climate mitigation of methane and other short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs) to avoid tipping points, the need for a new human right to resilience (to balance States’ mitigation and adaptation obligations), and the importance of legal standing for youth and future generations.

IGSD partners included Centro de Derechos Humanos y Ambiente (CEDHA), Centro por la Justicia y el Derecho Internacional (CEJIL), Global Action Plan, Kyklos, Kené, Observatorio por la Justicia Marina, CEMDA, Confederation Mapuche, and ALLIED among others, along with various universities. These partners testified about the critical importance of fast mitigation strategies, particularly in light of the threat of looming climate tipping points, with many also testifying about the need to reduce emissions of methane and other short-lived climate pollutants.

Resilience & Voices from the Frontlines

Resilience emerged as a central theme throughout the hearings. Judges of the Inter-American Court highlighted the need to build and maintain resilience and asked several questions on how an Advisory Opinion could help with the resilience needed on the ground. IGSD was the first organization to articulate the human right to resilience in its brief presented to the Court.

The most poignant moments came from the testimonies of those directly impacted by climate change. Frontline and displaced communities shared their harrowing experiences with sea level rise, floods, droughts, and extreme weather events. The Court listened to the voices of marginalized and vulnerable groups, including Indigenous and Afro-descendant communities, women, LGBTQ+ groups, and disabled persons. Their stories underscored the imperative to slow the rate of warming in the near term through effective action that can impact global temperature in the short term and the adaptation needs and limitations.

As the hearings drew to a close, the Court reflected on the unprecedented participation: “This concludes the oral phase of the Advisory Opinion with the largest participation in the history of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.”

Next Steps

This historic legal process will end with a specific Advisory Opinion on States’ human rights obligations vis a vis the climate emergency. These hearings have already highlighted the immense human cost of the climate crisis and reinforced the necessity of a human rights-based approach based on science to climate resilience through fast mitigation and adaptation.

For further details seeInter-American Court of Human Rights Press Release, Sesiones Históricas en Brasil: Concluye La Audiencia Sobre la Emergencia Climática, and also Folha de S. Paulo, Cortar superpoluentes pode evitar 0,6°C de aquecimento até 2050, diz relatório.

29 May 2024 – China’s State Council issued the Action Plan for Energy Saving and Carbon Reduction in 2024-2025 (hereinafter referred to as the “Action Plan” or “Plan”) on 29 May 2024. The Action Plan announces major energy saving and carbon reduction targets that China aims to achieve by the end of 2025. The Action Plan also identifies sectoral priorities and relevant management and support mechanisms that will enable the achievement of the Plan’s targets. Quantitative targets in the Plan include increasing the percentage of non-fossil fuel consumption in China to about 18.9% in 2024 and around 20% in 2025; and reducing about 130 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions annually in 2024 and 2025.

Although the Action Plan does not explicitly include non-CO2 greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction targets, some targets and actions included in the Plan can strengthen and serve as references for non-CO2 GHG emissions reduction advocacy efforts. For example, the Plan specifies:

  • “Strict and reasonable” control of coal consumption, with a focus on reduction of coal consumption for non-power usages;
  • Guiding the development of the oil and gas industry and accelerating the large-scale development of unconventional oil and gas resources such as shale oil (gas), coalbed methane, and tight oil (gas), etc.;
  • Promoting non-fossil fuel consumption and specifying that, by the end of 2025, the share of China’s power generation from non-fossil fuel sources shall reach about 39% nationwide;
  • Carrying out energy saving and carbon reduction actions in entities that rely fully or partially on government funding and specifying that, by the end of 2025, these entities’ share of coal consumption will be reduced to less than 13%, and national government agencies’ share of new cooling equipment with advanced levels of energy efficiency shall reach 80%; (the energy efficiency criteria for “advanced levels” are defined here); and
  • Improving appliance efficiency and strengthening recycling and reuse. By 2025, the share of energy-efficient products shall be raised to 40% and 60%, respectively, of all commercial and residential cooling equipment in use.

Countries such as China must adopt measures to simultaneously reduce CO2 and non-CO2 GHG emissions. Cutting super climate pollutants, in particular the species of non-CO2 pollutants referred to as short-lived climate pollutants—black carbon, methane (CH4), tropospheric ozone, and hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs)—can avoid four times more warming at 2050 than CO2 cuts alone can, and reduce the rate of global warming by half. Furthermore, if HFC phasedown is paired with improved energy efficiency and sound lifecycle refrigerant management, emission reductions could be doubled (or more) with the adoption of best practice policies. Slowing the rate of warming in the near term reduces the risk of climate extremes that scale with the rate of warming and threaten to accelerate climate feedbacks and trigger a cascade of irreversible tipping points.

Additional IGSD China resources:

A cultural transformation is needed says Pope “akin to an ecological conversion”

20 May 2024 – Last week Pope Francis, along with the Vatican Pontifical Academy of Sciences and the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, issued a call for Planetary Call to Action for Climate Change Resilience. The three-day Vatican Summit issued a Compact calling for reducing the rate of global warming by half in the near term with a “sprint” to rapidly reduce methane and the other super climate pollutants joined with the “marathon” to zero-out CO2 through decarbonization, explaining that this combination is the fastest and most effective strategy to slow warming, keep the 1.5ºC limit in sight, and reduce the risk of triggering irreversible tipping points.

Doing everything in our power to rapidly reduce global greenhouse gas emissions and bend the warming curve by 2050 to limit temporary overshoot to below 2ºC and to limit the warming to 1.5ºC as soon as possible, is the first pillar of MAST …[The three MAST pillars are: Mitigation to reduce climate risks; Adaptation to manage unavoidable risks; and Societal Transformation to enable mitigation and adaptation] and also prioritizing nature-based solutions in the proactive removal of CO2 from the atmosphere. We must drastically reduce four short-lived climate pollutants (methane, black carbon soot, tropospheric ozone, and HFCs) to reduce the rate of warming by half in the short term (<25 years). We need massive acceleration of the global decarbonization process by transitioning away from fossil fuels during the same time.

Pope Francis stated:

“The destruction of the environment is an offense against God, a sin that is not only personal but also structural, one that greatly endangers all human beings, especially the most vulnerable in our midst, and threatens to unleash a conflict between generations” (Address to COP28, Dubai, 2 December 2023). This is the question: Are we working for a culture of life or for a culture of death? You have answered that we must heed the cry of the earth, hear the plea of the poor, and be attentive to the aspirations of the young and the dreams of children! We have a grave responsibility to ensure that their future is not denied them.…

The 46 less developed countries – mostly African – represent only 1% of global CO2 emissions, whereas the nations of the G20 are responsible for 80% of those emissions…. The refusal to act quickly to protect the most vulnerable who are exposed to climate change caused by human activity is a serious offence and a grave violation of human rights….

In light of this planetary crisis, I add my voice to your heartfelt appeal.

First, there is a need to adopt a universal approach and a rapid and resolute activity capable of effecting changes and political decisions.  

Second, there is a need to invert the global warming curve by efforts to decrease by a half the rate of warming within the brief span of a quarter-century. Likewise, there is a need to aim for global de-carbonization and the elimination of dependence on fossil fuels.

Third, the great quantities of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere must be eliminated through an environmental management programme that will span several generations. 

Prominent governors, mayors, and faith leaders from around the world signed the call for Culture Action, including California Governor Gavin Newsom, Massachusetts Governor Maura Healey, and New York Governor Kathy Hochul, Mayor Anne Hidalgo of Paris, Mayor Sadiq Khan of London, Mayor Roberto Gualtieri of Rome, and Mayor Michelle Wu of Boston, as well as governors and mayors from Brazil, Germany Italy, Kenya, Spain, and Taiwan. Climate experts signing the call for action included Hoesung Lee, 2015-2023 Chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Gina McCarthy, former White House National Climate Advisor, and World Health Organization Chief Scientist Dr. Jeremy Farrar.

Two experts from IGSD signed, IGSD Chief Scientist, Dr. Gabrielle Dreyfus and IGSD Director of Climate Policy, Romina Picolotti; both also made presentations at the Summit and both are co-authors of the Planetary Culture Action for Climate Change Resilience.

The Vatican summit was spearheaded by Professor Veerabhadran Ramanathan. In 1975, Professor Ramanathan was the first scientist to discover the significant greenhouse effects of non-CO2 gases and aerosols, including short-lived climate pollutants. His discovery on the warming effects of chlorofluorocarbons ensured that the 1985 Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer included climate effects.

Over the past 15 years, Professor Ramanathan has been a frequent co-author with IGSD of science and policy papers on the need for speed to bend the warming curve, including a 2011 workshop at the Vatican Pontifical Academy of Sciences on the Fate of Mountain Glaciers in the Anthropocene, a chapter in the book from that workshop published by the Vatican, and a chapter in a second book published by the Vatican, Health of People, Health of Planet and Our Responsibility: Climate Change, Air Pollution and Health (2020). 

Our collaboration also includes two seminal papers in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (USA) both of which are ranked higher than 99% of their contemporaries by Altmetric:

For further information on the Vatican Summit, see Planetary Call to Action for Climate Change Resilience. See also From Climate Crisis to Climate Resilience (15-17 May 2024).

Bridgetown, BarbadosThe Inter-American Human Rights Court held its first Public Hearing 24 to 26 April on the Request for Advisory Opinion on “The Climate Emergency and Human Rights” during the 166th Regular Session of the Inter-American Court of Justice in Bridgetown, Barbados. There will be four additional days of hearings in Brazil in May 2024.

After receiving more than 260 written briefs, the Court organized three days of the hearing in Barbados, a vulnerable island State. The President of Barbados and members of the cabinet opened the session. The hearings ran from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. to accommodate the more than 60 presentations on behalf of more than 130 groups who were invited to make oral presentations.  There were four hour-long panels of presenters each day, and each panel was followed by an hour of questions from the six judges, who asked excellent and often difficult questions.

The written briefs were submitted by 36 States and public institutions, 17 indigenous and other communities, more than 90 NGOs and think tanks, 70 academic institutions, and 45 special experts. Thousands of signatures accompanied the different submissions, for example the environmental defenders submissions—which included methane and the other short-lived climate pollutants—was signed by more than 200 defenders. Never in the history of the Court has an advisory opinion process spurred this extraordinary level of participation.

The IGSD team delivered several presentations in support of our key messages:

  • Maxime Beaugrand, IGSD Director of the Paris Office, presented on behalf of the Science Advisory Panel of the Climate & Clean Air Coalition (from 2:22:32) focused on introducing the basics of short-lived climate pollutant mitigation, including most importantly that cutting the super climate pollutants can avoid 0.6°C of warming by 2050. See also short interview with Maxime, Climate Change and what Barbados is doing.
  • Durwood Zaelke, IGSD President, presented on the importance of fast mitigation to avoid the 11 tipping points between 1.5°C, a temperature  he noted we’ll hit by 2030, and 2°C, which we’ll hit by 2050. He emphasized the importance of reducing short-lived climate pollutants, particularly methane, to reduce near-term warming. See corresponding LinkedIn post. The Judges followed up with a Q/A session.
    • Judge Gomez asked Durwood for further information on tipping points, and DZ discussed paleo and observational data, mentioning the dangers of the Arctic, Antarctic, and Amazon tipping points.
    • Judge Manrique asked Durwood about the failure and successes of international governance approaches, and he explained that UNFCC’s voluntary approach has not been effective, in contrast to the Montreal Protocol, which has avoided warming equal to CO2’s warming and is on course to avoid 2.5C of warming by end of century. See corresponding LinkedIn post.
  • Romina Picolotti, IGSD Director of Climate Policy, presented on the need for the Court to accept the human right to resilience, as described in IGSD’s brief to the Court. In addition, Romina focused on how the Court could give specific content to the States’ obligations in this crucial decade, including judicial training of domestic courts as well as adaptation of legal frameworks to better capture the extraordinary harm and the concept of time as a critical fact of climate change.
    • Judge Gomez also asked Romina about the need of creating a practice of adaptation law to meet the urgency of the climate emergency. Romina emphasized the need for a timely and effective remedy and gave some examples of how the Advisory Opinion could include specific language to guide States, particularly the judiciary.
    • Judge Manrique asked Romina what the response should be by an international system of human rights protection for addressing the climate emergency.

  • IGSD’s youth program, FACE Intergenerational Justice, made three interventions in collaboration with the Center for Human Rights & Environment and nearly 30 youth organizations from 12 countries, five Indigenous communities, and several regional and global coalitions:
    • Samantha Derksen (from 27:09) focused on the need for fast climate action to prevent large scale, irreversible damage to the climate system and explained the importance of reducing short-lived climate pollutants. She called for the Court to advise States concretely on the mitigation measures they must take to address the climate emergency. Samantha, a pro bono lawyer from Hausfeld, also delivered the introduction to the session (from 21:01).
    • Jovana Hoschtialek (from 21:51) gave a first-hand account of climate impacts in her home of Grenada and reminded the Court of what is at stake for future generations, and to avoid the burden of climate mitigation being shifted to youth of today and tomorrow.
    • Laura Serna Mosquera (from 25:34) asked for the Court to help mandate strict mitigation and adaptation measures from States. She reminded the Court that “we are not prepared for what lies ahead without ambitious action, and we are the last generation that can act now.”

After the session, the Court highlighted the youth participation in its proceedings. Further, Jovana and FACE Co-Chair Trina Chiemi were features in an article in The Guardian published ahead of the proceedings in Barbados.

See the Press Release from the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, Concludes a Week in Barbados of Historic International Dialogue on the Climate Emergency / Concluye en Barbados una Semana de Diálogo Histórico sobre la Emergencia Climática.

29 March 2024 – From January through March 2024, China agreed to various targets and measures to support the mitigation of fluorinated gas, including hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) and hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFC) refrigerant recycling and recovery, including:

Prohibition of direct emissions of refrigerants and requires recycling, reuse, and harmless disposal of these substances during servicing and end-of-life processes: These prohibitions are included in the recently amended Regulation on the Administration of Ozone Depleting Substances (effective as of 1 March 2024) (IGSD translation, here).

  • Implementation of these prohibitions faces challenges. According to official data from China’s Ministry of Ecology and Environment, only around 40% of waste TV sets, refrigerators, washing machines, air conditioners (ACs), and microcomputers were properly recycled and disposed of from 2012 to 2020. For the AC sector, Chinese researchers found that the total refrigerant emissions from ACs were 85 Mt CO2-eq in China in 2019; 79% of these refrigerant emissions arose from AC disposal.

Lifecycle refrigerant management in end-of-life recycling and disposal processes for cooling equipment:

  • On 23 January 2024, the China Ministry of Commerce, together with eight other national ministries and agencies, issued policy guidelines to promote the recycling of household appliances with the target of increasing the recycling rate of household appliances by 15% by 2025 from the 2023 levels. The guidelines aim to achieve the targets through measures such as building pilot recycling cities, cultivating the recycling industry, promoting best practices/models, and developing regulations, policies, and standards.
  • On 13 March 2024, China’s State Council issued an action plan to promote the large-scale replacement of equipment and consumer goods. This action plan sets the targets of doubling the rate of vehicle recycling and increasing the recycling rate of household appliances by 30% by 2027 from 2023 levels.
  • These policies would benefit from additional measures that increase the demand for reclaimed refrigerants, such as a government edict that specific types of cooling equipment must use an increasing amount of reclaimed refrigerants to reduce the demand for newly produced fluorocarbon refrigerants and minimize the release of fluorocarbon emissions into the atmosphere. Additionally, strengthened monitoring, reporting, and enforcement of refrigerant emissions reduction and proper disposal requirements, incorporating best industry practices and technologies, will be needed to maximize the climate benefits of these policies and funding mechanisms.

Additional IGSD resources:

22 March 2024, Washington, DC – A new paper released today presents a comprehensive overview of China’s national targets and regulatory requirements relevant to methane mitigation and shares perspectives on opportunities to advance China’s ongoing efforts of developing a comprehensive policy framework for reducing methane emissions. The paper is a collaboration between the Institute for Governance & Sustainable Development (IGSD) and the Asia-Pacific Center for Environmental Law (APCEL) at the National University of Singapore.

Maximizing methane mitigation, especially in countries such as China with large methane emissions, is the fastest and best strategy currently available to slow near-term warming and keep global warming of 1.5 °C within reach. Exceeding the 1.5 °C guardrail increases the risk that adverse and irreversible climate impacts will be triggered. Slowing near-term warming provides climate-vulnerable communities with time to adapt and build resilience and reduces their adaptation burdens. Additionally, because methane is a component of ground-level smog, cuts in methane emissions reduce harm to human health and crops.

China’s energy, waste, and agriculture sectors and industrial processes contributed 55.292 megatonnes of methane (MtCH4) emissions in 2014. To put this in perspective, global methane emissions were estimated at about 321.87 MtCH4 in 2015. The lion’s share of methane mitigation potential in China is in the coal mining sector (16.12 MtCH4) and the waste sector (1.08 MtCH4).

In November 2023, China released its Methane Emissions Control Action Plan. The Action Plan prioritizes the improvement of China’s methane-emissions measurement, monitoring, reporting, and verification system, as well as additional methane-emissions control actions in the energy, agriculture, and waste sectors. It also aims to strengthen the synergistic control of methane and other pollutants, such as volatile organic compounds.

China’s Outline of the 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-2025) for National Economic and Social Development and Long-Range Objectives Through the Year 2035 provides that China will “strengthen the control of other greenhouse gases such as methane, hydrofluorocarbons, and perfluorocarbons.”

The new paper presents several ways China can further raise its ambition to strengthen methane mitigation:

  • China could advance its methane ambitions through bilateral and multilateral engagement, building upon the commitments in the U.S.-China Sunnylands Statement on Enhancing Cooperation to Address the Climate Crisis, including incorporating methane reduction actions/targets in its 2035 Nationally Determined Contributions. Furthermore, China could link its methane-mitigation actions to its goals of mitigating the climate and other environmental impacts of its overseas investments.
  • China could strengthen national regulations and standards to control sectoral sources of methane emissions. This includes an immediate opportunity to promulgate more stringent national standards governing methane emissions in the coal-mining sector, in coordination with China’s broader policies on controlling coal consumption and improving coal mine safety. Additionally, China could undertake research that supports methane-emissions regulatory requirements for other key sectors, such as oil and gas.
  • Finally, China can promote methane-reduction pilot projects at the subnational level. This could build upon China’s plan to construct 100-zero waste cities during 2021-2025 and help set useful precedents for the deployment of sectoral methane-mitigation technologies and initiatives. Subnational pilots may eventually feed into nationally implemented programs or regulations.

China’s Ongoing Efforts to Address Methane Emissions and Opportunities to Further Raise China’s Methane Mitigation Ambition is here.

Washington, DC, 19 March 2024 — Aggressively cutting methane emissions is the best and fastest opportunity for slowing warming by 2030. A peer-reviewed study co-authored by IGSD showed that pairing a fast mitigation sprint targeting methane and other super climate pollutants with the marathon to get to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 can reduce the rate of warming by half from 2030 to 2050. This would slow the rate of warming a decade or two earlier than strategies targeting decarbonization alone and make it possible for the world to keep the 1.5°C guardrail within reach.

This and other studies are included in IGSD’s updated and expanded Primer on Cutting Methane: The Best Strategy for Slowing Warming in the Decade to 2030. The Primer provides decision-makers with clarity on the science supporting methane mitigation as the fastest way to slow warming, and on the actions that are urgently needed to reduce emissions. The Primer builds on IGSD’s decades of scientific and strategic leadership promoting the global recognition that reducing super climate pollutants is the fastest way to slow global warming over the next decade and through 2050.

Methane emissions anywhere impact climate and health everywhere around the globe. The Primer underscores that it is critical to pursue fast methane mitigation through strong national, regional, and multilateral action. The Primer also describes current and emerging mitigation opportunities by sector; and financing initiatives to secure support for fast methane reduction.

The landmark CCAC’s Global Methane Assessment (2021) calculated that reducing methane emissions by 45% by 2030 will avoid almost 0.3 °C of warming globally and 0.5 °C of warming in the vulnerable Arctic by the 2040s. The Assessment further found that this reduction would prevent 255,000 premature human deaths every year, 775,000 asthma-related hospital visits, 73 billion hours of lost labor from extreme heat, and 26 million tonnes of crop losses globally. More recently, the IPCC’s Sixth Assessment Report (AR6) further confirmed the need for immediate and drastic reduction of methane emissions, calling for “strong, rapid and sustained reductions in CH4 [methane] emissions.

Over the last four years, efforts to cut methane have been increasing. In 2021 at COP 26, the United States and the European Commission launched the Global Methane Pledge, which now has the support of 156 countries and the European Union, representing half of global methane emissions and nearly three-quarters of the global economy. In June 2022, they launched the Global Methane Pledge’s Energy Pathway to catalyze cuts in the oil and gas sector. The International Energy Agency’s Global Methane Tracker 2024 report finds cutting methane from fossil fuels by 75% by 2030 is vital to limit warming to 1.5°C. To reach this goal and keep 1.5°C alive, the IEA estimates $170 billion in spending is needed to cut global methane emissions— $100 billion in the oil & gas sector and $70 billion in the coal sector, a mere 5% of last year’s profits.  The Global Methane Tracker 2024 report also makes clear that it is essential to move from voluntary to more binding commitments and to expand coverage and enforcement of methane mitigation policies to keep the planet safe.

The global methane mitigation campaign is supported by the Global Methane Hub, launched in tandem at COP 26 to help countries that want to move fast on methane, with initial pledges of more than $220 million over three years from international philanthropies.

The IGSD Primer on Cutting Methane supports and strengthens these and other methane efforts.

Download the Primer here.

On 1 February, the final day of the 2024 Arctic Frontiers Conference, Dr. Oran Young was awarded the International Mohn Prize by Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre, who presented the award at The Arctic University of Norway.

In explaining its selection of Dr. Young for the prize, the Scientific Committee of the Mohn Prize wrote:

“Dr. Young is an international leader in studies of international governance and environmental institutions and is the world’s foremost expert on these topics in the Arctic. … He combines basic and applied research with practice, and actively promotes this integrative vision of Arctic research at both academic and policy-making fora. Dr. Young has led the creation of many national (USA) and circumpolar Arctic governance and science policy institutions. He has used his knowledge of the Arctic to inform wider studies on the role of policy and governance globally. …

Dr. Young has published 20 books, 25 edited volumes, and more than 150 articles and book chapters, a highly impressive record in social science. … Dr. Young’s seminal article ‘Age of the Arctic’ (Foreign Policy, 1985) and his book of the same title (co-authored, 1989) initiated research on international relations in the Arctic as a distinct planetary region, and one with high potential for scientific cooperation. He helped launch circumpolar scholarly collaboration in the late 1980s and 1990s. His work has identified lessons from the Arctic to inform international governance regimes globally. … Dr. Young has played a major role in building Arctic scholarly institutions, with involvement in many key Arctic non-governmental research organizations since the 1980s. …”

“Dr. Oran Young is a giant in the field of Arctic research and governance and the Mohn Prize is well deserved. The Arctic is currently warming at four times the global average and it is essential to have Dr. Young engaged in finding solutions,” said Durwood Zaelke, President of the Institute for Governance & Sustainable Development.

Prime Minister Støre, referencing Dr. Young’s words, noted in his speech at the award ceremony that “this is a critical time for the Arctic. And we know that when it is a critical time for the Arctic, it is also a critical time for the globe, the Antarctic, and everything in between.”

The Mohn Prize seminar is here; the Mohn Prize Scientific Committee’s statement is here.

5 January 2024 — China amended its Regulation on the Administration of Ozone Depleting Substances (ODSs) to strengthen its implementation of the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer. China submitted its ratification document for the Kigali Amendment on 17 June 2021, which went into effect in China on 15 September 2021.

The amended Regulation, issued more than 3 years following release of the public comment draft, applies to all substances included in the List of Controlled ODSs in China. This List was amended in 2021 to include all HFCs subject to phasedown as part of China’s obligations under the Kigali Amendment.

The amended Regulation establishes a comprehensive national regulatory framework for China’s HFC phasedown. The framework includes, for example, provisions on production and consumption allowance (see, e.g., China’s 2024 HFC allowance and allocation plan), import and export licensing for substances included in the List of Controlled ODSs for Import and Export in China, data monitoring and management, leak reduction, and end-of-life recycling, reclamation and destruction. China’s government authorities in charge of ecology and environment and other relevant agencies will be responsible for supervision and inspection of regulated community’s compliance with the amended Regulation.

The amended Regulation includes key adjustments that draw from past experience involving non-compliance and related risks associated with ODS law. For example, in the amended Regulation, ODS/HFC consumption entities that do not need to apply for consumption allowances (per Article 10 of the Regulation)—including entities that use ODSs/HFCs for cooling-equipment servicing and laboratories that use a small amount of ODSs/HFCs for scientific research purposes–must nonetheless undertake filing procedures with the government. Although the government filing procedures are not specified in the amended Regulation, it is noteworthy that under the pre-amendment Regulations, ODS consumption-entity information that was filed with the government included the entity name, location, period of time, and relevant ODSs. This information was made publicly available via the online ODS Information Management System hosted by the Ministry of Ecology and Environment.

Additionally, entities that generate ODSs/HFCs as production byproducts are required under the amended Regulation to undertake harmless disposal of the byproducts prior to discharge. Further, the amended Regulation also requires entities that produce or use large quantities of ODSs/HFCs, and entities that generate large quantities of production-process byproduct ODSs/HFCs, to install automatic monitoring equipment and connect such devices to the government system. The Ministry of Ecology and Environment will subsequently issue detailed rules regarding these requirements. The amended Regulation also includes more stringent legal liabilities and increased financial penalties to deter violations. For instance, the fine for producing ODSs/HFCs without allowances has been raised from 1,000,000 yuan (approximately U.S. $139,753.00) to up to 5,000,000 yuan (approximately U.S. $697,545.00).

The amended Regulation will become effective on March 1, 2024. IGSD’s English reference translation of the amended Regulation on the Administration of Ozone Depleting Substances is available here.

Additional IGSD and IGSD partner China Briefings: